VMP-250 Recovery

Rockland a Proud Partner of the 2021 AMAZOMIX Cruise

AMAZOMIX is a multidisciplinary oceanographic expedition exploring how the mixing of the Amazon River with the Atlantic Ocean impacts the biology, chemistry, and physics of the ocean. Indeed, the Amazon River plume carries large volumes of fresh, turbid, nutrient-rich water to a narrow coastal strip. It is a place of high phytoplankton production that has beneficial effects on the entire food chain – but also a place where turbulent processes can lead to an irreversible mixing of waters and changes to their properties along the coast. These interactions at the Amazon River outflow area affect many aspects of biodiversity, geomorphology, and physical processes.  

To help better understand turbulent mixing, the scientific crew aboard the R/V Antea is deploying a physical oceanography instrument known as the Vertical Microstructure Profiler (VMP), made by Rockland Scientific. The VMP-250 measures the turbulence generated by eddies at a millimeter scale. Turbulent mixing is the physical process that causes different layers or bodies of water to irreversibly combine. Assessing how layers in the ocean interact is key to modelling many ocean processes including nutrient transport, atmospheric carbon absorption, deep ocean circulation, heat flux, etc. Measuring the mixing intensity of these processes will provide greater understanding of biological resources and climate change. On the AMAZOMIX expedition, the VMP-250 is linking ocean physics with ocean chemistry and marine biology.  

Rockland is proud to be the only invited industry partner in this important and high-profile scientific campaign. It has always been part of the Rockland’s DNA to actively collaborate and empower scientists to achieve their goals by providing hands-on support. This will maximize the chances to collect good and valuable datasets with the Rockland Scientific instrumentation. 

For more information, please check the official press release (https://cutt.ly/jQ91p13), or follow the campaign on Twitter: #AmazomixScience.


Drawing of Lake Geneva

Swiss Limnologists Benefit from Swift Support & Loaner MicroCTD

Earlier this year, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) were experiencing challenges with data from one of the shear channels on their MicroCTD. However, Rockland manufacturing and support teams quickly provided a loaner MicroCTD to help EPFL continue their seasonal study from their Léman exploration platform (LéXPLORE).

Rockland’s fast responsiveness and logistical capabilities provided for rapid delivery of the loaner MicroCTD. This enabled the EPFL team to conduct their periodic measurements without disruption. 

Some call it Lake Geneva (English), others call it Lac Léman (French). This beautiful lake sits on the border between Switzerland and France, and it receives a lot of scientific attention. “LéXPLORE”, which stands for “Léman exploration”, is the name for a scientific floating platform located on the lake off Lausanne. The platform is equipped with cutting-edge scientific instrumentation for simultaneous biological, chemical, and physical measurements at high resolution. 

As one can see from the pictures on the home page of the LéXPLORE platform (https://lexplore.info/), Rockland Scientific equipment is an important part of the equipment pool. Here is a video of the LéXPLORE platform taken from the perspective of a MicroCTD. 

Drawing of Lake Geneva

Dr. Sebastiano Piccolroaz, an emerging scientist at EPFL, is very active in collecting microstructure data in the lakes. Dr. Piccolroaz has collected more than 900 MicroCTD profiles just in the past year. 

Sebastiano commented, “we take microstructure profiles nearly on a weekly basis (both upward and downward) as we are interested in seasonal and sub-daily turbulence and gas-flux patterns. Having the loaner instrument in such a short time was therefore a great support from Rockland as it allowed us to keep pace with our regular weekly fieldwork. On top of this, I should add that the same week we received the loaner instrument, we contributed to an important 48h monitoring campaign in Rotsee (close to Luzern), where colleagues at EAWAG are investigating horizontal flows resulting from nearshore night- time cooling with ADCP and tracer measurements. Having the loaner MicroCTD with us was definitely a big plus!”. 

Loaner MicroCTD at Rotsee

Rockland’s continuing support was further demonstrated this Spring when our Sales & Support Manager for the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region, Romain Tricarico, had the opportunity to travel to Switzerland to work with researchers from EPFL and Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG) on the LéXPLORE platform.

The focus of the trip was a two-day microstructure workshop organized by EPFL and EAWAG to discuss: 

  1. Best practices to operate Rockland profilers 
  2. MicroCTD-VMP data inter-comparison 
  3. Post-processing analysis 

Notably, the fun part of the workshop happened during a field testing and deployment of a whole “zoo” of Rockland equipment as shown in the picture below. 

Zoo of Rockland equipment

The VMP-500 is more than ten years old and was custom built by Rockland for Swiss researcher Prof. Alfred Wüest, whom everyone knows as Johny. Johny is the Swiss Grandmaster of limnology, having contributed numerous seminal publications on deep lake mixing and inspiring the next generation of microstructure expertsRockland looks forward to supporting this next generation! 

Professor Alfred Wüest with VMP-500

All in all, Rockland takes pride in providing quick support to its customers and Romain’s presence at the workshop. Together with the guest web-live appearance of Dr. Rolf Lueck (Rockland co-founder and staff scientist) during the data processing session was just another testimony of Rockland’s mission to empower our customers to achieve their turbulence measurement goals and help scientists better understand climate change! 

Romain with the Swiss Microstructure Diaspora

How can Rockland support your project goals?  Contact us today to discuss our solutions, including available units from our lease-pool.

Rockland Scientific’s New Data Logger Delivers Improved Software Experience and Simplifies Connectivity with Instruments

The new Rockland Data Logger (RDL) is now equipped in the current production of Rockland instrumentation. The RDL represents an evolution in our core instrument technology with modernized components and firmware that provides users with a simplified software interface and easier connectivity & configuration.

The RDL’s capabilities far outpace those of the previous CF2-generation of data loggers by delivering enhanced data acquisition, transmission options, and on-board data analysis. 

This includes the option for new, dual-functionality of internal recording and real-time output (with properly equipped cable & winch system) on our line of Vertical Microstructure Profilers (VMP). On-board data analysis is achieved through enhanced integration with autonomous robotic vehicleswhich includes soon-to-be released In-Situ Data Processing (ISDP) that will allow for processed turbulence data to be transmitted to shore via the vehicle’s satellite telemetry system.

Render of the Rockland Data Logger

RDL Improvements

The RDL is proudly designed in-house by Rockland engineers to meet the next generation of turbulence instrumentation. This provides us with the added benefit of improved revision generation, as well as controlling production and delivery of this core component – instead of being subjected to the current global microchip shortageThis translates to consistent delivery of Rockland instruments to our customers that are ready for deployment!

Instrument Communication: The RDL no longer requires Motocross Terminal and RSILink software (used for CF2 instruments) to communicate with a PC. Instrument configuration can now occur via the Zissou Essentials software (v1.6 and higher). Data transfer has been simplified by the fact that the RDL behaves like a USB Thumb Drive. When the USB connector is plugged into your PC, a drive will appear for two way transferring of files. 

Available Memory: RDL instruments have 64 GB of embedded memory with larger capacity options available. This is an upgrade from the CF2 standard memory which was 4 GB.  

Clock Battery: The RDL uses a CR2032 Lithium battery that is expected to last 4 years minimum compared to the CR123 battery used in CF2 instruments that must be replaced by the user at least once per year.

Built-in Backup Power Source: The RDL has a built-in super-capacitor which acts as a backup energy source to ensure that data logging can shutdown properly when power is removed. The helps prevent the loss of data in the event of power failure.

A Key to Our Mission

The RDL is a key piece of technology to ensure the success of our customers and Rockland’s mission to improving the measurement and analysis of ocean turbulence. Ocean turbulence being a vital parameter to understanding climate change. With this, and other technologies, Rockland will continue to disrupt what was previously a niche discipline and make ocean turbulence information broadly accessible. 

Contact Rockland today to discuss how our solutions will help you reach your measurement goals. 

Additional Information about the RDL

Serial Numbering: RDL instruments have serial numbers 400 or greater. 

Data Processing: The Data Processing experience will remain the same, however the latest version of our ODAS MatLab Library or Zissou software will be required to process data files (.P) from both CF2 and RDL instruments. Please use ODAS Matlab Library v4.4.08 or Zissou Essentials v1.6 (or newer versions). 

Integrated Systems (Including MicroRiders and MicroPods): Rockland Data Loggers on integrated systems such as ocean gliders may require the platform to have specialized software designed by the platform manufacturer to control your microstructure instrument. Existing platform software for CF2 instruments may not be compatible with RDL Instruments, contact the platform manufacturer for more information. 

Upgrade to RDL: Rockland will continue to service CF2 Persistor based instrumentation while parts are available, however we recommend upgrading to the RDL if possible.  The RDL was designed to enable an efficient replacement of the CF2 Persistor in existing instrumentation. For more information or if you would like to upgrade an existing instrument from CF2 to RDL, please contact info@rocklandsicentific.com. 

Technical Support for RDL: The Rockland Support Team is standing by to provide support and training for the new RDL. Please contact support@rocklandscientific.com with and questions or concerns. 

For a complete overview of the Rockland Data Logger please download Technical Note – 052 Rockland Data Logger Overview and Comparison with CF2 Systems available on our Technical Note Download Page. We also have a RDL Integration Guide available to platform integrators by request. 


Covid-19 and Rockland

We would like to assure our Customers, Suppliers, and Partners of Rockland that we have implemented steps to keep our work force safe, while keeping our operations functioning at high productivity.  As of Monday, March 16, 2020, we have implemented a work-from-home policy and we are limiting the movements and contact points of those staff that are required in the office.  Despite these measures, we are confident that we will be able to ship your orders on time and respond to your customer service requests.  There may be some disruptions in answering telephone calls immediately, but we are monitoring the voice mail. For the quickest response, we encourage you to contact us through the email form on our website here.

Plain English Oceanography: Insight into the Surface Layer of the Ocean During a Storm

Evolution of Oceanic Near-Surface Stratification in Response to an Autumn Storm

Natasha S. Lucas, Alan L. M. Grant, Tom P. Rippeth, Jeff A. Polton, Matthew R. Palmer, Liam Brannigan, Stephen E. Belcher

  • Journal of Physical Oceanography, November 2019, American Meteorological Society
  • DOI: 10.1175/jpo-d-19-0007.1

What is it about?

Why are we interested in the surface of the ocean? The surface of the ocean is the interface between the ocean interior and atmosphere. Heat, gases and momentum are exchanged at this boundary, this has implications on weather and climate.

How did we measure it?

We went out to the North Atlantic, off the continental shelf, in September 2012 for a month. We deployed an Ocean Microstructure Glider (yup, known as OMG!!). This instrument is pretty new and pretty special!

Keep Reading>> 

Rockland Scientific Partners with Big Blue Ocean Cleanup to Offset Ocean Waste

Rockland is pleased to announce a corporate partnership with Big Blue Ocean Cleanup (BBOC), one of the world’s leading independent ocean cleanup non-profit foundations.  BBOC prevents and removes ocean pollution to minimise the effects of human development. At Ocean Business 2019, Rockland kicks off an annual donation pledge to BBOC. In April, Rockland transferred £20 for every instrument shipped in the 2018 calendar year.

As a specialist in the design and manufacture of oceanographic research instrumentation, Rockland plays an active role in better understanding of the world’s oceans.  At the same time, Rockland recognizes the life-cycle impacts of their products, which are the result of the operational nature of ocean research instruments and the challenging conditions in which they are deployed and recovered.

Rockland has made significant efforts to minimize its ocean impact, acknowledging two potential sources of ocean waste: i) discarded ballast weights from autonomous deep-sea profilers and ii) instruments lost at sea.  To mitigate the effects of the intentionally dropped ballast weights, Rockland has designed them to be made entirely of ferrous metal, which will oxidize in the ocean water. To minimize equipment loss, Rockland incorporates safety factors in the equipment design, and provides operational training to its customers.

“Partnering with Big Blue Ocean Cleanup is aligned with Rockland’s vision of ocean stewardship, and our efforts to minimize the life cycle effects of our instruments” says Rockland President, Dr. Fabian Wolk, “…and similar to our customers, Big Blue values scientific research and technology development, and is active in all of the world’s oceans.”

About Rockland Scientific: Rockland is dedicated to the measurement of turbulence in oceans, rivers, lakes and laboratories.  Their measurement systems comprise of ship-board profilers as well as modular sensor payloads for deployment from gliders, floats, and moorings. They accurately detect turbulence levels, from the most energetic tidal channel down to the deep ocean.
Image Caption: An Oceanographer Successfully Recovers a Rockland Turbulence Profiler
About Big Blue Ocean Cleanup: BBOC is an international non-profit foundation that is cleaning the oceans and coastlines.  BBOC’s mission is to drive positive change towards clean oceans and coastlines that support all marine wildlife and sustainable living.  Big Blue Ocean Cleanup works to prevent and cleanup ocean pollution and to minimise disturbance from human development and climate change.

Ocean Business 2019 provides timely training opportunity for Rockland Scientific

SOUTHAMPTON, UK, April 16, 2019 – Ocean Business 2019 provided Rockland Scientific with the opportunity to deliver a timely and pertinent training session to the National Oceanography Centre.  Dr. Matthew Palmer, Chief Scientist at NOC Liverpool, leads a research expedition this June to Tanzania. Supported by NOC researcher Dr. Juliane Wihsgott, the team will carry out turbulence measurements involving a novel sampling approach with Rockland’s equipment.
The NOC scientists will perform a rapid samping underway transect from a small boat using a VMP-250 turbulence profiler with a rapid recovery system.  These measurements will provide data for the study of nutrient fluxes that support artisanal fisheries in Zanzibar and are part of the SOLSTICE-WIO programme funded by the UK Global Challenges Research Fund.


The NOC has recently appointed Dr. Palmer as Chief Scientist to lead on its Science Community Engagement program, aimed at promoting and enhancing collaboration between NOC’s Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems (MARS) engineering group and the marine science community.

Dr. Wihsgott receiving training from Rockland Field Technician Evan Cervelli at the NOC Marine Robotics Innovation Centre.
About Rockland Scientific: Rockland is dedicated to the measurement of turbulence in oceans, rivers, lakes and laboratories.  Their measurement systems comprise of ship-board profilers as well as modular sensor payloads for deployment from gliders, floats, and moorings. They accurately detect turbulence levels, from the most energetic tidal channel down to the deep ocean.
About the National Oceanography Centre: NOC engages in research covering a range of oceanographic disciplines to further understand the complex nature of the ocean. One such research area is the study of marine physics and ocean climate, which focuses on the fundamental physical processes in the marine environment and their connection with, and influence on, the rest of the Earth system. This research spans microscopic to global scales, extends from the coast to the abyssal ocean, and includes boundary layer interactions with both the atmosphere and the seabed.

Rockland To Supply Three 6000m Rated Vertical Microstructure Turbulence Profilers to UK, Japan, Norway

SOUTHAMPTON, UK, April 09, 2019 – Rockland Scientific has been contracted to supply three VMP-6000 profilers to NOC Southampton (UK), the University of Tokyo (Japan) and the University of Bergen (Norway). The demand for such instrumentation highlights the increasing importance of deep-sea turbulence observations. Two VMP-6000s have already been delivered, while the third profiler will be shipped to Norway in May.

The VMP-6000 is a robotic, full ocean-depth (6000m) profiling system for measurement of turbulence microstructure, CTD, and other oceanographic parameters. The unique capability of the VMP-6000 to measure the smallest turbulence signals in the abyssal oceans provides the researchers at these institutions with a tool to study deep-ocean dynamics and mixing, and their connection with larger scale processes such as climate change.

Once delivered, the VMP-6000s will augment an existing suite of turbulence measurement instrumentation at these institutions, including coastal profilers and modular sensor packages integrated with ocean gliders and AUVs.

A VMP-6000 deployed from a NOC Southampton research vessel. 


About Rockland Scientific: Rockland is dedicated to the measurement of turbulence in oceans, rivers, lakes and laboratories. Their measurement systems comprise of ship-board profilers as well as modular sensor payloads for deployment from gliders, floats, and moorings. They accurately detect turbulence levels, from the most energetic tidal channel down to the deep ocean.

About the National Oceanography Centre: NOC engages in research covering a range of oceanographic disciplines to further understand the complex nature of the ocean. One such research area is the study of marine physics and ocean climate, which focuses on the fundamental physical processes in the marine environment and their connection with, and influence on, the rest of the Earth system. This research spans microscopic to global scales, extends from the coast to the abyssal ocean, and includes boundary layer interactions with both the atmosphere and the seabed.

The Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute (AORI) was established in the University of Tokyo by a merger of the Ocean Research Institute and the Center Of Climate System Research in 2010. The Ocean Circulation Section is engaged in physical research based mainly on observations by research vessels in order to reveal various phenomena in the ocean, including deep ocean circulation and mixing.

About University of Bergen, Geophysical Institute (GFI): GFI is a leading institute in the Nordic countries in the field of observational oceanography. The institute’s research strategy rests upon use of cutting-edge measurement techniques in combination with theoretical studies and modelling. Studies on key ocean processes and their interactions encompass spatial scales from millimetre scales, relevant for ice freezing, turbulence and mixing, up to the large scale ocean circulation.

VMP-250 Allows Danish Researchers to Observe how Turbulence and Vertical Mixing Affect Nutrient Flux Processes in Northeastern North Sea

Dr. Jørgen Bendtsen, ClimateLab Denmark., Professor Katherine Richardson, Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen.


Deployment of the VMP-250 from the R/V Dana in the North Sea, July 2016. The instrument is deployed ~5 m from the free-drifting ship, and after it has been lowered to the surface the line is released and it sinks freely through the water column.


The ClimateLab and University of Copenhagen purchased a VMP-250 coastal turbulence profiler and Jørgen attended instrument training at Rockland Scientific in June 2016.  Shortly after, Jørgen used the instrument as part of a nutrient flux study in the North Sea.  The ClimateLab and U Copenhagen team collected turbulence data from the VMP-250 and analyzed the potential for vertical mixing, which can transport nutrients, such as nitrate, which support primary production throughout the column. The findings were published last month in the paper Turbulence measurements suggest high rates of new production over the shelf edge in the northeastern North Sea during the summer  in the Biogeosiences Journal.


The key finding of this research paper was based on measurements taken in the northeastern North Sea. During the stratified summer season a deep chlorophyll maximum was found at the bottom of the nutrient depleted surface layer (~20 m). Observations with the VMP-250 along transects across the shelf edge towards the deep northern North Sea (>500 m) showed enhanced vertical mixing at the bottom of the nutricline above the shelf edge. Diapycnal turbulent nitrate fluxes were estimated from turbulence measurements and nutrient samples and showed enhanced new production above the shelf edge area. Overall, this suggests that the shelf-edge zone may be the major nutrient supplier to the euphotic zone in this area during the period of summer stratification.


These findings will have impacts on fisheries, aquaculture, and ecological conservation efforts and policy.  Dr. Bendtsen and Professor Richardson’s success with the VMP-250 has resulted in some additional funding to add a fluorometer/turbidity sensor to their VMP-250 instrument.  This is good news for Rockland and their customer base as Jørgen is well positioned to perform novel science with high resolution measurements of chlorophyll-a and turbidity taken very close to the shear probes.